When we went to the pediatrician for Greta’s five year check-up a couple of weeks ago, we expected to hear that she’d grown a few inches (three to be exact) and gained a little weight (three pounds there again too) and we were even prepared for some shots and her annual eye exam as well. But nothing could prepare us for what came next. Simply put, Greta failed her eye exam. Big time.
Even more troubling was the fact that my blind-ass eyes could see several of the images on the eye chart better than Greta could. The trouble seemed to be mostly with her right eye, and in the end, her vision was deemed 20/100, which might not sound that terrible, but is a pretty low score for a kid.
Then came the real kicker. On our way up to the front desk to pay, the nurse stopped us with the chilling words every parent most dreads hearing: “Don’t leave yet. The doctor needs to talk you about her test results.” Being the calmer of the two of us, Mrs. Yeti didn’t start really freaking out till later, but, I broke into a cold sweat almost immediately. Something was so wrong with our kid that we couldn’t even leave? WTF?!
So, we headed back to an exam room where Greta gleefully sorted through the free stickers she collected up front while Mrs. Yeti and I tried to act like everything was cool. When the doctor returned, he told us that it was probably nothing, but, that he was referring Greta to a pediatric ophthalmologist who would run a slew of more detailed tests to see what was up with her right eye. Bottom line, Greta might need glasses.
Of course, that’s not a death sentence or anything — and several friends of ours and people in my immediate family have worn glasses forever — but it was just a lot to process in a month filled with landmark birthdays and kindergarten orientations.
So, we made an appointment with the pediatric eye doctor and then totally wigged out for a week, each of us trying hard not to fall down the rabbit hole by looking up shit online about kids with failing eyesight. That said, I did Google “20/100 eyesight in kids” a few times and lemme tell ya, nothing good can come from looking up medical stuff online. It’s a freak show! Seriously, it reminded me of that house of horrors chapter in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” the one they tell parents not to read unless your child has problems, but that every parent reads anyway and then flips out. It felt like that for a week.
And then we had our appointment with the ophthalmologist — who was a very sweet woman with a calm, soothing bedside manor that rivals that of our beloved pediatrician in its sheer awesomeness! — who told us that, without a doubt, Greta needed glasses. Immediately. Yep, Greta’s pretty little eyes were that bad, and the sooner she started wearing glasses, the better.
In hindsight (no pun intended) I think Greta’s eyes were probably “that bad” at last year’s check-up too. But instead of letting her fail then, I totally bullied the nurse into letting Greta retake the exam until she got it right by probably memorizing the order of the characters on the eye chart. Yes, I know, I’m a terrible father. I just didn’t think her eyes could be that bad. Yikes…
I guess the good news is that we caught it before she starts kindergarten where poor eyesight could effect her schoolwork and stuff. But wow, I’m still feeling like a total a-hole for enabling Greta on her steady little road to blindness this past year…urgh.
Anyway, armed with our prescription and loads of nervous energy (that we were very careful to keep hidden from Greta, BTW) we headed out to shop for what Greta excitedly referred to as “big girl glasses.” And as luck would have it, we found the perfect pair of very cute, lime green and black Hello Kitty eyeglasses at Costco. Yes, Costco. Over the years, I’ve heard stories about the legendarily-excellent customer service at the Costco vision center, and, Patrick, the dude who helped us, did not disappoint. Seriously, he was amazing. Kind, patient, knowledgeable, and totally awesome with Greta and her overly-anxious parents…the man had us all at “hello”.
In fact, Patrick was so good at setting all of our minds at ease about the new reality in our lives (Greta will need to wear her glasses all day, every day from here on out) that I even teared up a bit when we left. So, thanks, Patrick at Costco. You nailed it, brother!
Greta’s glasses arrived last week and they are gorgeous. It hasn’t always been easy getting her to understand that she has to wear them whenever she is awake, but, every day gets a little easier. And finding a cool strap with little pink skeleton heads on it totally helped — we realized very quickly that part of the reason Greta didn’t want to wear her glasses was because she couldn’t change them up like her other “accessories” — her come to terms with her “new normal.”
That said, it’s definitely been a challenge — Greta broke down crying the other day before ballet because she insisted that “black swans don’t wear glasses!” — but, we’re getting through it. Kind of.
Anyway, I promise to post more pics and stories about our adventures in glasses land very soon and in the meantime, any advice on how to make eyeglasses more “fabulous” for a five year old would be greatly appreciated.